In justifying the size of its once formidable military machine, the Soviet Union regularly compared its armed forces to those of the NATO countries in Òcorrelation of forcesÓ computations that were often highly suspect. The Russian air force, at least, seems intent on continuing this dubious tradition. Yesterday its press service announced that NATO forces in Europe have about 13,000 combat aircraft at their disposal, compared to but 5,700 in Russia. Should Hungary, Czechoslovakia [sic], Poland, and the Baltic states join the Western alliance, NATOÕs fleet of warplanes and combat helicopters would grow by an additional 17 percent and 13 percent respectively, the press service warned.
A closer look at the report showed that less than half of the aircraft credited to NATO were actually in Europe. These 6,500 planes were augmented by more than 3,000 U.S. air force planes in the United States and 3,140 aircraft of the U.S. navy. (Interfax, February 3)
Ukraine Determined to Obtain Special Partnership with NATO.